Programming Assignment 2: Reliable Transport over UDP
In this assignment, you will build your own reliable transport protocol, over UDP. Your protocol
must provide in-order, reliable delivery of UDP datagrams, and must do so in the presence of
packet loss, delay, corruption, duplication, and re-ordering.
To reduce your workload, we will provide you with the receiver and you will implement the
sender side. Since you probably cannot modify the OS on your machine, we have included a
simulated channel in the receiver side that drops, delays, and corrupts packets, and effectively
simulates an unreliable channel. We will also provide several useful functions that you can use
in your implementation.
1. Protocol Description
Our simple protocol has four packet types: start, end, data, and ack. All packets follow the
general format below.
checksum seqnum flag optional data
checksum: (4 bytes): 32-bit checksum
seqnum: (4 bytes): sequence number
flag (1 byte): start packet: 0, data packet: 1, end packet: 2, special packet: 1, ack packet: 4
optional (1 byte): optional field if needed for performance improvement
data: at most (MAX_SIZE – 10) bytes
To initiate a connection, send a start packet. The receiver will use the sequence number
provided in the start packet as the initial sequence number for all packets in that connection.
After sending the start packet, send additional packets in the same connection using the data
packet type, adjusting the sequence number appropriately. The last data in a connection should
be transmitted with the end packet type. If the file to transmit only requires one packet, that
packet is sent with a special packet flag.
A single packet will not exceed MAX_SIZE bytes. Because of the constraints on the total size of
packets in UDP and layers below, MAX_SIZE cannot be more than ~1400 bytes. You should
set MAX_SIZE to 500 bytes in this assignment.
We will provide you the receiver Receiver.py for you. The receiver responds to data packets
with cumulative acknowledgements. Upon receiving a packet of type start, data, special, or end,
the receiver generates an ack packet with the sequence number it expects to receive next,
which is the lowest sequence number not yet received in order.
Receiver has a maximum window size WND_SIZE which is set to 10 packets in this
assignment. This means if the next expected packet is N, the receiver will not accept out-oforder packets with sequence number greater than N+ WND_SIZE.
The receiver has a default timeout of 5 seconds, this means it will automatically close any
connections for which it does not receive packets for that duration.
To simulate an unreliable channel, we have used a function channel(packet), defined in utils.py,
that receives the received packet, and two constants, packet drop probability PROB_LOSS and
packet corruption probability PROB_CORR, and drops or corrupts the packet according to those
probabilities. It further delays all the packets by some random time in DELAY_RANGE currently
set to interval (80, 120) msecs. The output of channel function is either a packet (corrupted or
uncorrupted) or None (in the case of packet drop). The output of this function has been
considered as what is actually received by the receiver to emulate an unreliable channel.
The receiver does not send back any ack if the packet is dropped (output of channel is None),
otherwise it sends an ack packet.
The receiver is invoked with the following command:
python Receiver.py <output file <receiver address <receiver port
Output file is the name of the file where the receiver writes data, and receiver address could be
simply localhost and receiver port is the UDP port number used by the receiver.
Your sender should read an input file and transmit it to a specified receiver using UDP sockets.
It should split the input file into appropriately sized chunks of data, specify an initial sequence
number for the connection, and append a checksum to each packet.
Function for generating packet checksums will be provided for you (see utils.py), also functions
for making packet, and extracting fields from a packet. In utils.py, we have also provided you
with read_file function that divides the file into chunks of size chunk_size. For example you can
use f = read_file(filename, chunk_size), and f.next() to return the next chunk.
Your sender must implement a reliable transport algorithm using a sliding window mechanism.
Your sender must be able to accept ack packets from the receiver. Any ack packets with an
invalid checksum should be ignored.
Your sender should provide reliable delivery of file under the following network conditions:
Loss: arbitrary levels
Corruption: arbitrary types and frequency.
Re-ordering: packets may receive in any order, and
Delay: packets may be delayed (here randomly in DELAY_RANGE).
Your sender should be invoked with the following command:
python Sender.py <input file <receiver address <receiver port
The sender should implement a 500ms timeout interval to automatically retransmit packets
that were never acknowledged (potentially due to ack packets being lost). We do not expect
you to use an adaptive timeout (though this is one of the bonus options). Further the sender
should perform fast retransmission, i.e., upon the receipt of three duplicate acks, it should
transmit the corresponding packet without waiting for timeout.
Sender should only retransmit the oldest unacknowledged packet (rather than naively
retransmitting the last N packets).
Your sender should support a window size W of at most rwnd packets (we do not expect
adaptive window size but this is one of the bonus options).
Your sender should roughly meet or exceed the performance (in both time and number of
packets required to complete the file transfer) of a properly implemented sender.
Your sender should be able to handle arbitrary files (i.e., it should be able to send an image
file just as easily as a text file).
Any ack packets received with an invalid checksum should be ignored.
Your sender MUST NOT produce console output during normal execution. Python exception
messages are ok, but try to avoid having your program crash in the first place.
We will evaluate your sender and receiver on correctness, time of completion for a file
transfer, and number of packets sent (and re-sent). Transfer completion time and number of
packets used in a transfer will be measured against our own reference implementation of a
sliding-window based sender. Note that a “Stop-And-Go” sender (i.e., without pipelining) will
not have adequate performance.
2. Bonus Points:
Congestion Control (10 points): When packet loss, corruption, delay, and reordering are
minimal, a large window size will obtain higher performance. A large window on a lossy channel,
however, will lead to a large amount of overhead due to retransmissions. Modify your sender to
dynamically adjust its window size based on a variant of TCP congestion control mechanism.
Accounting for variable round-trip times (5 points): Modify your sender to determine the round
trip time between the sender and the receiver, and adjust the timeout interval appropriately
through a similar mechanism to TCP.
Bidirectional transfer (5 points): While our protocol as defined only supports unidirectional data
transfer, it could be modified to allow bi-directional transfer (i.e., both ends of the connection
could send and receive simultaneously). Implement this functionality by modifying both the
sender and receiver as necessary.
Be sure to provide a description of your updated protocol in your README.txt file.
The utils.py and Receiver.py are on the course webpage.
4. What to hand In
Submit a zip file using the format <UNI. zip (e.g. jg3465.zip) to PA2 in courseworks. Your zip
file must include:
Python file Server.py (basic sender)
README.txt file: any general instructions about running your code. If you choose to do
bonus parts, you can additionally include:
Your implementation should work on any system that runs the appropriate version of
Make sure your code is well commented and readable or you will be taken 5-10 points.
If your code doesn’t compile, we will call you to have a look at it and fix it. However, it will
result in a deduction of 20% of your total points. We will use Python 2.7.x to test your
The basic implementation has at most 100 points.
The bonus points are counted toward your assignments (written or programming).
You are permitted and encouraged to help each other through Piazza. However, you
may not share source code. Refrain from getting any code off the Internet. Please read
the academic integrity policy in the first lecture.
To streamline the process, we have dedicated three TAs solely to this project:
o Georgia Essig
o Brayn Fridman
o Christos Tsanikidis
These TAs will be answering your questions about PA2 and can help during their office
hours with this project.